Nobody likes criticism. I suspect the folks over at the Real Bread Campaign weren’t thrilled when they were called out for the lack of gender diversity among its ambassadors last year.
The concerns came to light during the promotion of the Campaign’s 10th anniversary celebrations, which would feature its five male ambassadors giving speeches and demonstrations.
With most of the criticism voiced over social media it would have been easy for the Campaign to dismiss it as casual Twitter rants but, admirably, it didn’t. Some of the ambassadors offered to forgo their speaker slots at the event with others added to achieve a better balance.
Now, following a review of the role of ambassador, the Real Bread Campaign has unveiled a new line-up. A more diverse line-up consisting of 12 women and nine men. Bravo.
There’s representation from across Great Britain as well as Mexico, Malaysia and Romania, ranging from a 14-year-old baker who runs a business with her dad to a bakery school dropout, a baker who teaches bread therapy and another who has spent six years baking in a shipping container (see below for the full bios of the new ambassadors).
In accepting the voluntary role, the newly appointed ambassadors will be vocal champions for the Campaign and real bread in general, where possible speaking, writing or broadcasting in support of the campaign and helping to inspire people to bake real bread at home.
The news has been welcomed on social media with many praising the diverse line-up.
Sonya Hundal, owner of Greenfield Bakers in Lincolnshire and newly appointed RBC ambassador, tweeted: “This is what happens when an organisation listens to its members. Representing diversity in #realbread”.
It would be easy to see this move as a simple box-ticking exercise but diversity matters. It’s important for people from different backgrounds to have their voices heard, to provide inspiration to others and be seen producing food that makes a difference to local communities. It will also allow for the generation and sharing of new ideas from different perspectives.
All in all, it’s a positive step for real bread.
Here’s the new Real Bread Campaign’s ambassadors:
- Clare Barton is owner and head baker at The Bakehouse at 124, an award-winning artisan bakery in Tonbridge, Kent.
- Madeleine (Dilly) Boase bakes and eats bread like a champion, as well as talking and teaching about it. A National Bakery School dropout based in Monmouthshire, Dilly is an advocate of independent shops, co-ops, community-minded businesses, and creates recipes for low-cost, low waste cooking.
- Jo Bottrill is the founder of Jo’s Loaves, a micro-bakery in Great Offley near Hitchin in Hertfordshire. She started baking as a hobby in 2011 and now supplies sourdough to restaurants, cafés, farm shops and farmers’ markets.
- Wayne Caddy is the owner of The Essential Baker consultancy, with over 30 years as a bread head specialising in the art of fermentation, training and innovation. He is also head of baking at The School of Artisan Food a non-profit organisation in Nottinghamshire.
- Su Yin Chan is the baker and founder of Yin’s Sourdough Bakery in Georgetown, Penang. She progressed from baking sourdough at home to nurturing under-privileged people to become sourdough bakers. She now manages two bakeries in Penang and another in Kuala Lumpur.
- Phil Clayton is owner and baker at Haxby Bakehouse, established in the village just north of York over 10 years ago.
- Peter Cook has been a professional baker for more than 25 years. He’s the co-founder, director and head baker at Peter Cooks Bread, an award-winning wholesale bakery sharing real bread and pastries with the people of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
- Danielle Ellis left a career in marketing to train as a baker at École Banette in France. She now runs Severn Bites in Gloucestershire, teaching bread making using French techniques and local ingredients. She also judges in the World Bread Awards.
- Duncan Glendinning is the owner and head baker of Thoughtful Bakery, an award-winning bakery, café and baking school in Bath. Co-author of Bread Revolution, he is also no stranger to TV with appearances on series such as The Victorian Bakers and The Big Bread Experiment.
- Sonya Hundal is the owner of Greenfield Bakers, a small wood-fired bakery in rural Lincolnshire that uses stoneground organic flour from a local windmill.
- Valentina Ion runs Grain Trip, a sourdough bakery in Bucharest, Romania that offers sourdough real bread created using recipes from around the world.
- Jane Mason founded Virtuous Bread in 2010 to effect positive social change through bread. She went on to set up Bread Angels, which has become the UK’s largest network of microbakers. A Canadian based in Mexico, Jane has published three books about bread.
- Ben MacKinnon quit his career in sustainability and in 2011 launched E5 Bakehouse ‘An independent, organic bakery in a spruced-up railway arch beneath London Fields station.’ Today, Ben oversees three arches housing the bakery, stone mill, café and shop; and work including bakery training for refugees.
- Ameena Nur is the owner of Jeju’s Bakehouse, a micro-bakery based in Maybole, South Ayrshire. She strives to bake the world a better place.
- Paul Robinshaw is the owner and founder of Real Bread bakery Flour Water Salt in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
- Lucie Steel is the baker and owner of Birch Bread, Berkshire. Having outgrown the microbakery she ran in a shipping container in her garden for six years, she has made the transition to running the thriving village bakery on Pangbourne’s high street.
- Jack Sturgess aka Bake with Jack is a professional chef turned bread maker, demonstrator and educator. Jack has been teaching bread making around and beyond Surrey since 2012 via private and public courses, food festival demonstrations, and his YouTube channel.
- Andrew Smith has 32 years’ experience in the food industry, including radical wholefood co-operatives, a range of different bakery operations, consultancy, training and education. He now runs specialist sourdough bakery Bread and Roses in Northumberland.
- Kitty Tait is the teenager co-owner of the Orange Bakery in Watlington, Oxfordshire, serving up sourdough bread to her local community. She’s passionate about making real bread available to everyone.
- Helen Underwood is the founder of White Cottage Baking School near Cambridge. A former baker, she now teaches bread-making in the UK and Europe. She champions local millers and her work emphasises the importance of provenance and sustainability.
- Ian Waterland established his Knead Good Bread micro-bakery in Leicestershire in 2014. He also teaches breaducation and bread therapy in a variety of settings and advises new micro-bakery start-ups.